I have always been of the school that respectable publications don’t need to pimp their covers to obtain revenue. If the paper has good headlines and information that the reader is looking for, that’s all it needs to put there. Front-page ads are for tabloids.

The Wall Street Journal calls it a “jewel box,” but readers of its front page will know it by its common name: advertising.

The Journal today confirmed long-time speculation that it would open its front page to advertising, probably in September, a move that could bring in tens of millions of dollars in advertising revenue each year.

“The Wall Street Journal will provide the most valuable opportunity anywhere in any medium for advertisers who want to reach a large, affluent and influential audience,” L. Gordon Crovitz, the publisher of The Journal and executive vice president of Dow Jones & Company, said in an interview.

He said The Journal called the ad a “jewel box” — he did not know its exact dimensions but said it would be square-shaped.

The decision marks a radical turning point for newspapers, which in bygone days ran ads on their front pages but until recently such display ads had not been seen in the modern era.

Then again, maybe this doesn’t mean anything. What bothers me is the proliferation of advertising into every single free space available.

What happens is a front-page advertiser doesn’t like the editorial? What if they’re advertising to contradict the front page? Will the WSJ exhibit some editorial control over the kind of advertising allowed on the front page? Do they need to?

  1. Uncle Dave says:

    There’s a certain irony in complaining about a publication whose primary focus is business doing businessy things like advertising. The issues of advertisers not liking the content should be no different on the front page versus on any other page. Same policies in place should apply. On other pages, you get what’s printed there. Should be the same on the front.

    Having said that, not working in the newspaper business, I can’t say if it is common practice now a days to allow advertisers to dictate anything regarding content. Perhaps, as revenues decline and merging of ownership, more control is permitted just to earn a buck.

  2. Gary Shaw says:

    I was watching a movie made in the 1930’s and the lead character was reading the Wall Street Journal. The amazing thing is that it looks exactly like today’s paper. It’s a shame that WSJ will change its format, I find it extremely readable unlike the web counterpart.

  3. Improbus says:

    The problem with main stream media now days is that they are all whores. No disrepect to those in the sex industry of course.

  4. OmarTheAlien says:

    Advertising has permeated every conceivable nook and cranny in our modern world. It’s in our books and magazines, tucked deep into the web sites we crawl through, in CD’s, DVD’s and embedded in the software we buy. Even the TV content we watch has commercial content pop up while we’re watching a show. So why not on the front page? We can ignore it as handily there as we can inside the paper.
    There are even furors raging over the price of keywords in Google’s Adsense program. As commercials become ever more a larger percentage of our landscape they will eventually evolve into an art form of their own, eventually eclipsing the programming they support in attractiveness.
    Hell, I could hang with the Ghecko, anytime. He’s probably a helluva drinking buddy.

  5. joshua says:

    Apparently the writer of this bit hasn’t read the USA Today paper, it has ads on the front page as does many newspapers here in the Bay area.
    I always lament the fact that old established businesses feel they have to change the way they look just to increase sales, or so they hope. I guess that comes from being a 23 y/o Conservative who feels that I missed out on some of the great things of the past and all the hype, glitter, and hurrah of todays society is just not of the same caliber.

  6. jccalhoun says:

    Our local paper started this nearly a decade ago. Of course the local paper covers a town so small that without the ads the paper would probably only be a couple pages long…

  7. Smartalix says:

    So you believe USA Today is of the same journalistic quality as the WSJ?

  8. joshua says:

    #7…Smartalix….hell no!!!!!!
    But it is a major daily and there are far to many who think it’s a real newspaper.
    Your article stated it as something not done by other major dailies, and thats just not true.


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